Joshua Becker, Ph.D.
Becker combines computational modeling and experimental design to explore basic principles of social behavior, identifying how collective intelligence is impacted by the structure of communication networks. His theoretical and experimental research on the wisdom of crowds examines how social influence can improve the accuracy of group beliefs, providing an important caveat to prior theoretical concerns that the wisdom of crowds can only emerge when group members are statistically independent. His theoretical research on collective coordination examines how groups select between mutually exclusive alternatives, as in the emergence of technology standards and social conventions. In both group belief formation and coordination, Becker's work highlights the power of decentralized networks, suggesting that the presence of disproportionately influential opinion leaders - a defining characteristic of centralized networks - has the potential to undermine collective decision-making.
A graduate of St. John’s College, Becker has a professional background in conflict mediation and community organizing.